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EDP pseudo-multi-tracks (was Re: Conceptual "Repeater" question)

this was from a few days ago:

At 07:59 PM 8/23/2001, AALev123@aol.com wrote:
>I do want to be able to switch between parts and possibly pull out the 
>bass ,
>which I assume would be the same as pulling track 2 out and then dialing 
>back in ,also being able to save it all after power down is nice. Do any 
>the other units you mentioned do this or maybe acomplish this in a 
>way? thanks

For that task specifically, the other looper that can do it is the Gibson 
Echoplex (or EDP). As you suspect, it accomplishes this same task in a 
completely different way....

That's an interesting distinction, because I think the differences in 
loopers often comes down to where their user interfaces come from. 
Oftentimes they can accomplish the same things, but you have to think 
it in a different way to do it. To me the interfaces for loopers come from 
4 different places: delay based interfaces, sampler based interfaces, 
recording studio based interfaces, or attempts to invent a distinct 
"looper" interface.

For example, the Repeater seems to be coming from a recording studio 
approach. It has faders and tracks and an interface the reminds of tape 
transports. Something like the Roland SP-808 or the Boss SP-303 is coming 
from a sampler approach. Sample banks, trigger pads, etc. The old digitech 
delays, or the TC D-Two, or the Korg DL8000 were delay based approaches. 
The Gibson Echoplex, Lexicon jamman, and Boomerang are more in the range 
inventing their own interfaces, often by combining elements of all of 

So in the case of multiple tracks, the echoplex employs a sort of 
pseudo-multi-track approach that doesn't give the same absolute control of 
true multiple tracks, but can often accomplish the same things in a very 
fast manner. For what most people are going to want to do on-the-fly in a 
live context, it is probably good enough. Overdub, Multiply, and LoopCopy 
are the functions that get you this. Overdub is the basic level, that lets 
you have several parts layered on top of each other in a single loop. 
Multiply lets you have a basic loop cycle, repeated as many times as you 
want, with a longer part over the top. To the listener it sounds like two 
loops of different lengths. LoopCopy lets you copy a basic loop into 
another loop and overdub or multiply it or whatever to get variations on 
the original. Switching between them sounds like you are muting and 
unmuting other tracks.

So getting back to your goal, the echoplex accomplishes this same multiple 
part thing, but you don't think about it in the "track" based recording 
studio way. The Echoplex interface is really designed around the idea of a 
musician playing live, and otherwise engrossed in playing some instrument. 
So the interface tries to make the looping process as simple as possible 
accomplish, without requiring any extra button pressing or otherwise 
you away from playing. In the process it doesn't necessarily give absolute 
control over every detail as a recording studio would. Total control is 
great in the studio, but live you won't want to deal with so many options 
to accomplish something. You want it fast and efficient, and otherwise out 
of your way so you can play. So the echoplex interface is optimized around 
the idea of being intuitive, fast, and efficient.

So in the echoplex, your desire to be able to take a part in and out of 
loop is accomplished by having a base loop in one loop location with 
variations of that loop copied into other loop locations. So loop 1 has 
your basic rhythm guitar loop, and loop 2 has your rhythm guitar loop 
copied into it with the bass loop overdubbed on top. You take the bass 
in and out of the loop by switching between loop 1 and loop 2. From the 
listener's perspective, it is exactly the same as having two tracks and 
muting and unmuting the one with the bass.

Creating these type of variations live in the echoplex is simple and can 
done with one or two button presses, and you never have to take your hands 
off your instrument or even look at the echoplex. All of the copying and 
overdubbing for the variation occurs on the fly as you play. When you have 
the copy parameter on, you just press NextLoop to start the copy, and end 
it wherever you want by pressing the Multiply button. While it is doing 
copy, you can add new material over the top, as if it were another track. 
It is all totally seamless, so you never stop anything and the listeners 
never have to watch you dinking around with any buttons. From their point 
of view everything is seamless and the music never stops.

(This might end up sounding complicated in text, but it is actually very 
fast to use live, and the echoplex OS makes it as easy as possible by 
automating a lot of it.)

The echoplex introduces additional flexibility for your variations and 
copies, because it automatically copies them in a Multiply mode. (that's 
why you end it with the Multiply button.) So if your basic starting loop 
loop 1 is a single bar, and you want loop 2 to be 4 repetitions of that 
basic loop with a 4 bar bass line running over the top, you do that with 
the same two button presses as you would to have used to record them as 
equal in length. (Next -> Multiply)  The copies of your basic first loop 
are made automatically as you overdub your new bass line loop, same as if 
you were Multiplying into the new loop. And if while you are playing your 
bass line you get another idea and want to play longer to get an 8 bar 
line, you just go ahead. Or 9 bars or whatever. You can stop the whole 
copy/multiply process whenever you want and nothing has to be preset ahead 
of time. The result is a simple loop in loop 1, and a variation on that in 
loop 2. Of course, you could create more variations in other loops, so you 
have several different places to switch among.

You do this by either using the automatic loop copy function or the more 
manual style of loop copy. Either way is fast, but the auto copy way means 
you hardly have to concentrate on what the echoplex is doing at all. The 
more manual copy gives you much more flexibility and control.

Do it like this: Set the loop copy parameter to be on (LoopCopy = SND for 
sound), and set up multiple loops with the "MoreLoops" parameter to 
many loops you think you need. To record your basic loop, just tap record, 
play, and tap record again to finish. Now your basic loop is playing. 
Anytime you press NextLoop to switch to an empty loop the echoplex will 
automatically begin copying your current loop into the new loop, while 
adding new material on top at the same time. It works exactly like the 
multiply function, so you can immediately be adding new material on top as 
the echoplex creates multiples the copies underneath. So when you are 
to record your bass line, press NextLoop and begin playing it. Your first 
loop will continue smoothly looping under you with no interruption as it 
copying into loop 2, and your bass line is being recorded on top of it. 
When you finish playing your bass line, press Multiply to end. It's fine 
press a little early, because the echoplex again keeps your life simple by 
rounding out to the end of your basic loop. So now, with just two button 
presses you've got a basic loop in Loop 1, and the basic loop + bass line 
in loop 2. Switch back and forth between them to give the effect of having 
multiple tracks.

The more manual type of loop copy gives you more flexibility. In this 
you leave the LoopCopy parameter off, because we don't want to go into 
copying automatically. Turn the SwitchQuant parameter on, and set the 
MoreLoops to however many loops you want. SwitchQuant is important because 
this forces the echoplex to wait until the end of your current loop before 
switching into a new loop. If you press NextLoop early, you have a waiting 
period there where you can tell it what functions to go into immediately 
when it gets to the new loop. This is helpful, because you can use this 
time to select which loop to switch to, or you can tell it to begin 
recording in the new loop immediately, or begin copying there, or overdub, 

So using this method you record your basic loop in loop 1 just like 
Somewhere in the middle of the loop you press NextLoop to go into the 
waiting period (you can press next some more during the wait period to 
which loop to go to, so you can select any loop). Press the Multiply 
to tell it you want to copy in the new loop. When it switches, start 
playing your new part. The echoplex will be smoothly creating multiple 
copies of the basic loop under you. Press Multiply again when you are 
Now you have a basic loop in loop 1, and multiples of the basic loop plus 
bass line in loop two.

Now say you want to have a completely different chorus section in Loop 3. 
You can tell the echoplex to switch to Loop 3 and be immediately recording 
when it switches. Record your chorus section when you get there. Then you 
can switch back and forth between all of these parts. You can also use the 
time copy function to tell the echoplex that you want the length of this 
chorus loop to be related to the original loop, either the same length or 
multiple length. Any of this just takes two buttons, and all happens 
seamlessly and continuously as play.

hope this helps,


Kim Flint                     | Looper's Delight
kflint@loopers-delight.com    | http://www.loopers-delight.com